Risky Business
November 06, 2006

I’ve Jdated. In fact I started the night I found my boyfriend on the site. I knew where that was going, rather quickly. It really looked like I was going to need to start dating, since it seemed he already was. I had no problem signing myself up. I am not risk adverse when it comes to these kinds of goals. How on earth are you going to meet someone in your velour pants watching Sex and the City on your couch? At least online dating lets you do all those things at the same time. You gotta put yourself out there to get a result. It is impossible any other way. No whining without at least the effort. At least that is how I looked at it. I had a ridiculously positive attitude. Especially for someone you had been cheated and lied to. Plus, now that I was a member I could catch my future boyfriends setting up their profiles faster. Ha!

My first contact came from a neurologist who had done his residency in New Orleans. My background caught his attention. He reported as a 35 year old with a new house, office based practice and an interest in cycling. I agreed to a Wednesday night steak dinner after several e-mails were exchanged. The calamari was excellent, drenched in a sweet and sour sauce. It wasn’t his appearance or demeanor, but the lie. My job offers me the ease to do some quick fact checking. In reality it is open to all thru the world wide web. A look at the licensing web site revealed this doctor was at least 42, if not older. Give me a break. You know people are going to breeze past a 40 plus guy, so you changed your age. But what you forget was that women hate liars. HATE. There is nothing at all worse. To us it says there are 97 other things you may be lying about. It says that you are willing to compromise your morals. Or worse, you don't have any. It says that you will do this again in the future and that time it may be about that affair with your secretary. It begs questions. What was your plan if this was to become serious anyway? Reconstruct your identity to become a 35 year old? Erase seven years of your life? He called, e-mailed and messaged numerous times after our dinner. I responded to one in a sentence, “Don’t appreciate being lied to”. His response was also brief “I understand”. Do you though? Why risk lying, if you knew it could harm you in the end? It was clear, he had no desire to be dating for real, that much was obvious. He was not in it for the long haul since he was willing to lie, over taking a true risk and showing his age. You risk people rejecting you for being over 40, but those are not peoople you want anyway. If you put yourself out there you better put your whole honest self out there. Otherwise there is no true risk. Yes the cold hard facts are risky, but it is honest and it will get you the farthest. He needed to take that risk, the reward would have been sweeter.

I took that risk. Put myself on the damn website. Chatted it up with the good doctor. Sat through dinner and drinks. All for nothing, in the end. But isn’t that risk? You are never guaranteed a reward. But fuckin’ A you will never, I repeat never, get a reward by doing nothing. There is no way you can find that man and make your dreams come true without the risk. It is just that simple. Economists and investors know the maxim well. The higher the risk, the greater the reward. We can play it safe and keep ourselves in a savings account, earning little income. Little risk, little reward. Where does that leave you? Time to go balls out and dump your shares into stocks. Get the best return for your money and you could end up wealthy and wise. Junk bonds are for fools who play loose and fast. Quick returns may not give you lasting results. There is a symmetry. We all know those people who are too risky with their behaviors they too get nowhere. After all there is a certain calculus to the risk-reward equation. I remained on that web site for several more months with a handful more quasi-terrible dates. None were horrific, no one else lied, to the best of my knowledge. The liars, cheaters and one armed bandits are all out there and take weeding out. But that is the risk you take in dating in general, I don’t think the online world is at all unique. It is just a convenient mechanism.

There is risk in taking the time to create a profile, in responding to e-mails, in getting to know a perfect stranger and agreeing to a meeting. All is risky. But is it really? We do that all day long. There is such a huge potential for a reward it is awe inspiring. Finally meeting that one person, makes it all worth it, you stop even looking at it that way. So I re-evaluated. Rather than look to the risk, I looked at the potential for reward. Rather than look to what I may lose, I looked to all I had to gain. Then I realized, in reality there was nothing to lose at all. What, so you spent some time getting to know another person? Time spent having to explain yourself, your past, dreams and goals? Well that is time well spent also, it helps you understand yourself and your needs. There is no pride here, these people don’t know you. It is impossible to be embarrassed in front of strangers. You will never see them again and they aren’t worth your respect and time if they think otherwise. In reality there is nothing to lose. All this risk talk should be for nothing. It should all be reward focused.

Several months later I took another risk. I met a boy at a bar through a friend. I knew a handful of morsels about him and I liked him. I googled and e-mailed him. I risked pride, but rationalized that I had nothing to lose. Save for some time drafting an e-mail. What 10 minutes? If there was no response, he was not worth it anyway. He responded, we lunched and now he is my Magoo. Risks can be so rewarding. Just take them.

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Blogger JustRun said:

Good advice. And similar to the mindset I have now... calculated risks and weed out liars. Sounds good. :)

4:29 PM 

Blogger e.b. said:

Not always easy 'dem liars are pretty good. Just beware and good luck. Hope I am not too preachy.

6:09 PM 

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